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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkVallarta Living | July 2009 

Fiction Corner: Outing Montezuma - Part 2
email this pageprint this pageemail usJan Baumgartner - PVNN

A native Californian, Jan Baumgartner is a freelance writer dividing her time between surviving in Maine and living in Mexico.
The Married New Yorker, the Divorced French Woman with Three Children and Lips of Claret

Their last trip together to this mystical Mexican village is where he met her. She was French as only a French woman can be, and had lips as plump and as deliciously scarlet as the French clarets that touched his palate and ran rivers through his veins each night.

She had lived in the village for many years and had three small children from a past husband, two boys and a girl. His were grown now and he had been glad, but suddenly the idea of young children seemed tantalizing. Or maybe it had nothing to do with offspring so much as they were tiny extensions of this full bodied femme fatale and anything that could have sprung from her loins had to be blessed - much like the case of vintage burgundy he longed to own but was always just out of his grasp. But I'm jumping ahead of myself.

The French-wine-loving New Yorker and the provocative woman from St. Remy, a place where he once painted beneath the white light of the Provencal sun and felt only the benign beginnings of the Mistral, met along the cobbles when the spirits intervened. And even though he was still married he forgot this part of his past and present, and without his brain's approval, his body swung into action, full tilt boogie right there on the street, on those ancient, uneven and holy cobbles where balance is off at the best of times, but when you're suddenly hobbled by the tipping weight of an unexpected appendage, not only did he have to steady himself inside a door jam, but he no longer wished to mow lawns or whack weeds, and she no longer wished to drink alone. And thus, the winds of change began to howl. And these winds, this evil tempest brewing south of the border in a high mountain village in Colonial Mexico, would make the infamous Provencal Mistral feel like a gentle fucking breeze.

In a Wine Glass, a Doggy Bag, a Warm Tortilla, or a Nutshell

So the tempestuous affair ensued for a few glorious sweat and wine-soaked weeks. It ended only because he and his wife had to return to New York. But, he couldn't shake loose those full bodied lips that tasted of vine-ripened currents, pan-fried huckleberries and a hint of freshly dug truffles; and his wife, too, had seen a vision, much like the Shroud of Turin, in the movements of one impossibly lithe and limber dance instructor from Burkina Faso and now found it hard to concentrate while operating heavy machinery.

Soon after they split, and he made plans to move to the magical mountain village where in his romantic, artistic broad-stroked-brush-of-happily-ever-after-sunshine-yellow, he and the French woman from St. Remy and her three precious children would live happily ever after. He was, in fact, in love with her.

But before he could get there, and he could only move so fast, after all, he had a life in New York and things to tend to and paths to clear before moving south of the border, she found another. Someone who promised her the heavens and she married him, lock, stock and wine barrel on a night of full moon, La Loca Luna, where the hundreds of unwanted street dogs howled in unison and deposited their ample wedding gifts throughout the neighborhood.

The French Woman, Her New Husband, More Kids than a Barrel of Monkeys, and How the Wind Began to Change

The woman's new husband was divorced. He was a Canadian living in Mexico. His ex-wife and his four teenage sons lived in Toronto. Not wanting to be absent from his children in the hinterlands, they agreed to a rather unconventional living arrangement: He would live half the year in Mexico with his new French wife and her three young children, the other half in Toronto where he could be near his frigid, hormonal offspring.

If the New Yorker thought that his angst was fleeting and all was coming up roses now that his path was cleared and his lawn forever mown, he was sorely mistaken. He stepped off the plane into that intoxicating, high altitude Mexican heat and drove toward his new village home where he hoped to hold the hand of his claret-lipped lover so she would never again trip on those dangerous, crap-covered cobbles.

But when he heard she had wed, he fell into a deep depression: A darkness that changed his mood and paintings and once vibrant color scheme. His paintings now were not of colors that bloomed and propagated in such a warm paradise, but of tough luck and hard, rigid lines of black, somber shades of violet and cobalt. He swore he would never buy another tube of Crimson Yellow and if forced, perhaps only by water boarding, to use some tone of that hideous, hopeful color, would only agree to Burnt Ochre. But even that was too optimistic. And in that mindset, water boarding actually sounded preferable to facing the lying tints of hope.

Yet somehow they remained friends, but his heart could never fully separate from her, it was as if he was tethered to this woman, heart and soul, and he never gave up hope, even years later, that someday she would leave her husband and they would live the life he had always dreamed of. For his own peace of mind he called himself single, even thought he felt happy once again and ready to move on, accepting the platonic friendship as better than nothing. But everyone knows that being friends following being lovers is bullshit, and this is where even more of it hit the fan.

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